Port Eliot FestivalSt Germans, near Saltash Category For the Family, Historic Sites, Entertainment
The Port Eliot Festival is an annual celebration of words, music, imagination, ideas, nature, food, fashion, flowers, laughter, exploration and fun.
An incredible array of performers have appeared at Port Eliot since the festival’s started over a decade ago, all drawn together by the festival’s laid-back approach and inspirational atmosphere. “Most festivals now, literature festivals in particular, are high pressure and high profile,” says Hanif Kureishi. “Port Eliot is a sort of upmarket pop festival… It’s fun… It’s nice for the kids. It’s a lovely place, it’s just very relaxing.”
Amongst the many writers, artists and thinkers to have appeared at the festival over the years are Diana Athill, Helen Simpson, Sarah Waters, Jung Chang, Jarvis Cocker, Dominic West, Grayson Perry, Hanif Kureishi, Hari Kunzru, Kate Summerscale, Rosie Boycott, Caitlin Moran, Tim Smit, Ekow Eshun, Toby Young, David Mitchell, Louis De Bernières, John Cooper Clarke, Jessica Hynes, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, Tracy Chevalier, Jon Ronson, Justine Picardie, Alexander Masters, Stephen Frears, Mike Figgis, Julien Temple, Sally Potter, Martin Parr, Colin Wilson, Mick Brown, Tim Burgess, Simon Jameson, Gavin Turk, Deborah Curtis, Simon Munnery, Murrary Lachlan-Young, Maria Alvarez, Alain de Botton, Jamie Brisick, Gavin Pretor Pinney, Tom Hodgkinson and Hugo Williams.
Meanwhile, intoxicating soundtracks have been whipped up by the likes of Beth Orton, The Bees, The Magic Numbers, British Sea Power, Andrew Weatherall, Talvin Singh, Stornoway, Noah and the Whale, Cherry Ghost, Jakob Dylan, Fionn Regan, Ed Harcourt, Frank Turner, Harper Simon, Alabama 3, Bellowhead, Annie Nightingale, Sean Rowley, Jim Jones Revue, Glenn Tilbrook, Louis Eliot, Gaz Mayall, Brandon Block and Jeremy Healey.
The Port Eliot Festival has also developed a reputation for promoting (and serving) phenomenal food. Over the years, the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Moro, Skye Gyngell, Peter Gordon, Russell Norman, Niki Segnit, Rose Prince, Daniel de la Falaise, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen chefs and Angela Hartnett have turned up and got busy in the kitchen.
Each year, new areas are added, broadening the festival’s appeal to a younger audiences and others who might never have considered coming to a literary festival before. The Cabaret Tent, the Caught By The River stage, The Wardrobe Department, the Port Eliot Festival Flower Show and the magical Hullabaloo children’s area hidden in the rhododendron garden have all grown from conversational ideas to cornerstones of Port Eliot’s line up. In 2011, the festival was honoured to have cinematic legend Martin Scorsese curate the Cinema Paradiso, a stunning open-air film experience framed by Brunel’s viaduct over the Lynher River.